Major international carriers keen to start international flight services from the airport here have sought temporary operating permits (TOP) to carry out their operations and assess commercial viability.
At a meeting with top Odisha government officials here, airlines such as Fly Dubai, Air Arabia and Thai Airways suggested that permits for short periods would enable them to carry out their operations and assess the commercial viability for sustaining the operations from Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar which was accorded international status in 2013.
Airline operators like FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Thai Airways today suggested that the Ministry of civil aviation may allow TOP to facilitate international operations from the Bhubaneswar airport. They made the suggestion at a meeting convened with major airline operators by Odisha chief secretary G C Pati in New Delhi. The meeting was held to explore the possibility of international air operations to and from Bhubaneswar.
Pati assured the operators that the state government will pursue the matter with the ministry for issue of TOP to international airline operators.
Thai Airways, which operates 56 flights per week from six cities of the country and adds two more cities – Varanasi and Gaya during the tourist season, has agreed to include Bhubaneswar as its third city. It is also keen to consider it subsidiary ‘Thai Smile’ to operate 320 Airbus from Bhubaneswar depending on commercial viability and interest from tour operators.
Similarly, domestic airlines including IndiGo and Jet Airways have requested for additional information on commercial viability from the Airports Authority of India (AAI). This would enable them to consider extending their existing international flights to Bhubaneswar.
Urging the airlines to start international operations to and from Bhubaneswar, Pati stated that the Ministry of civil aviation is positively inclined to start international operations from Bhubaneswar. The ministry. However, requires applications from the intending airlines within the agreed bilateral arrangement between India and the respective countries.
He suggested that the airlines could explore the possibility of expanding the operations of their international hopping flights linking Bhubaneswar till the bilateral arrangement is finalised.
While VAT on ATF has been reduced substantially, international airlines keen to operate to and from Bhubaneswar have not formally applied within the existing capacity approved bilaterally between their respective country and India, said Sunil K Bhargava, special resident commissioner (Odisha). A roadblock has been hit as the airlines are demanding additional capacity over and above what has been mutually agreed upon at a national level, he added.
The chief secretary requested the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to send a delegation to Bhubaneswar for assessing the Buddhist circuit potential in Odisha and share the same assessment report with international airlines who are presently operating on the circuit.
Courtesy: Business Standard